Four years after Vanguard introduced Personal Advisor Services — which combines robo-investing and some access to its own financial professionals — the firm says it is moving to give all financial advisors the ability to use its investment modeling and related technology.
“We’re continually looking for new ways to enable advisors and expand our existing suite of services to our financial advisor clients,” the company said in a statement. “We often receive requests for access to methodologies that have been perfected in our Personal Advisor Services offering, and we’re in the beginning stages of building out those capabilities in order to help advisors improve end investor outcomes.”
PAS has about $130 billion in assets, the fund giant says, out of the $5.4 trillion in total assets that Vanguard manages. It is used by less than 1 million investors today, according to industry consultant Gavin Spitzner, out of the roughly 20 million investors that Vanguard works with worldwide.
With this development, Vanguard will “join … the ranks of Charles Schwab and Betterment for Advisors,” said Spitzner, president of Wealth Consulting Partners, in a recent LinkedIn post. It’s unclear, though, if the plan “is part of push into [the] RIA custody space or more of a tech/asset management pure play,” he added.
(Vanguard formed a partnership with Financial Engines in 2003 to serve workplace plan participants.)
During the Morningstar Investment Conference two weeks ago in Chicago, Vanguard CEO Tim Buckley told a group of reporters that Vanguard could soon offer third-party advisors access to some or all of its PAS technology platform, according to WealthManagement.
“The technology behind PAS is largely digital, and there’s a lot we can do with that both in terms of helping plans and helping advisors,” Buckley told the publication.